Stop the pet itch before it begins: 5 tips for preventing fleas and other parasites

Flea season has become a year-long battle in the Lower Mainland, and climate change is to blame.

“Our winters are not as cold as they used to be,” says Dr. Leah Montgomery, owner and veterinarian at Shaughnessy Veterinary Hospital in Port Coquitlam. “Because of this, fleas aren’t dying off during the winter months.”

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And fleas aren’t the only parasites affected by the changing climate. Heartworm is creeping up from California and over from the Interior, according to Montgomery.

Preventing parasites is much easier than treating them, and it’s much more affordable in the long run.

Here are Dr. Montgomery’s top 5 tips for keeping your pet parasite-free:

1.     Control your animal. Get your pet on flea control or a worm prevention product as soon as possible. Flea control products may seem expensive, but not in comparison with treating fleas, which is both costly and extremely difficult to do successfully.

2.     Check pets over.Once your pet is using a product, make sure that it’s effective. Keep an eye on your animal and whatever you do, don’t stop using the product because they don’t have fleas.

3.     Get a checkup. Parasite control products work best when they are tailored specifically to the animal being treated, and dosages are determined by weight. Take your pet to the veterinarian for an annual exam. The vet can ensure the product is working, and check your pet’s weight to see if the dosage needs to be changed.

4.     Use products properly. Parasite control products are only effective if they’re used correctly. Go over the directions with staff at your animal hospital or clinic, and follow those directions to the letter once you get home.

5.     Don’t turn to the pet store. Pet store products may seem more affordable, but some are also ineffective. Veterinarians know which parasite control products work, and which ones work safely, too. The products offered at veterinary hospitals and clinics are the best possible options for your pets. Check with your vet before treating your animal for any health condition.

If you suspect your pet does have a parasite, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible, and make sure you clean up after your animal – parasites can be passed on to other animals and children through your pet’s poop.

For more information on parasite control, call Shaughnessy Veterinary Hospital at 604-945-4949 or visit their website. The Shaughnessy Veterinary Hospital can also be found on Facebook

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